Yesterday, a new user asked, Is it possible to define a command in bash?

This seems like a very basic question that has been answered thousands of times on the internet already. That being said, it's useful to have it answered here on Unix & Linux as well. However, after only one day it already has over 1 000 views and the simple alias response has 34 up-votes? That seems incredible! What's going on here?

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    The upvotes don't surprise me in the least. The views kind of do, but I guess it's just people tripping over themselves to post an answer Jul 16, 2014 at 21:09
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    Lmao if this question "blows up", too. Jul 17, 2014 at 14:48
  • If you see a question with a disproportionate number of views in a short time frame, it likely also has a disproportionate number of votes. I think the #1 reason for this is someone listed the question somewhere like Reddit or Hacker News -- people then click through from there, including people who have an account here but who don't otherwise browse the site much, and that's where the votes come from.
    – goldilocks
    Jul 18, 2014 at 14:05
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    Also, the bot tweeted it which according to the ad means we should close the question :-D
    – derobert
    Jul 19, 2014 at 6:58
  • @derobert What is this tweet thing? I will have to do that with all my answers.
    – goldilocks
    Jul 21, 2014 at 13:42
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    Well, here is another. User has a filename with spaces, and he doesn’t know to quote it. In four hours, it’s gotten 200 view, and the answer (“use quotes”) has 14 upvotes. Jul 29, 2014 at 17:26
  • @Scott, also, someone favorited it?
    – drs
    Jul 29, 2014 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


In this case, part of the reason was that the question was listed on the Hot Network Questions on the right sidebar. Presumably there must have been reasons for the initial interest (as ÃŁŁǫǛȉЖΦΤїҪ suggests), but then it probably snowballed after being featured on the sidebar.

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    I think this is the most important reason. Sometimes I browse the hot network question because there are enough interesting ones. If only 1% of the member did this regularly, 1000 views is not weird.
    – Bernhard
    Jul 18, 2014 at 19:25

It's very common on question and answer sites for questions to "blow up" when everyone knows the answer (or thinks they do). Whether or not the answers are controversial/debatable doesn't seem to matter; if the subject matter is easy and accessible, people will try and chime in to get some reputation. In the process of posting their comments/answers, they'll also often drop an upvote or two.

This phenomenon certainly isn't unique to Unix.SE. Look at some of the trivially easy questions asked on SuperUser or StackOverflow with hundreds, sometimes thousands of upvotes. It's not strange; it's just human nature. We can't prevent it within the current framework of the site; it's not like it's against the rules or anything.

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    I agree it's not bad nor against the rules. When I've seen a similarly trivial post on SU or SO, I assumed their status was earned from being the top Google hit over a span of years, not from SU/SO users chiming in. My surprise came from that this question was only a day old. But I suppose you're right. In this case it's probably a question lots of people have an answer to, so lots of our users check it out and leave an up-vote.
    – drs
    Jul 16, 2014 at 20:54

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